In my previous post I outlined some thoughts related to the recent Chick-fil-A hoopla, and the response of the Christian community. This morning a detail fell into place for me in a way that put two and two together to make something that was more like "four" than anything I've heard yet. Maybe I'm turning into a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, but hear me out and maybe you'll at least see where I'm coming from.
Let's review the basic events that occurred that led to the controversy. On July 2, some comments that Dan Cathy made about traditional marriage were published in a Baptist newsmagazine. On June 16, he appeared on a radio show I've never heard of before and made similar remarks (source: http://www.ajc.com/business/what-dan-cathy-said-1484986.html via Wikipedia). Such a controversy erupted over these remarks that by July 22, the former governor of Arkansas had called for a special day for Chick-fil-A supporters to go eat there to show support for the chain (source: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/07/mike-huckabee-calls-for-chick-fil-a-day/). On August 1, supporters did as Mr. Huckabee had recommended, and even though Chick-fil-A did not officially ask for it or plan an event, they had a "record-setting" sales day (source: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/chick-fil-record-setting-sales-appreciation-day/story?id=16912978). The LGBT community planned a counter-demonstration "kiss-in" for the following Friday (see: http://bottomline.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/03/13104208-pro-gay-marriage-groups-have-chick-fil-a-kiss-in?lite). I doubt it cost Chick-fil-A much in sales, but Chick-fil-A does not publicly report sales numbers so nobody but their hairdresser knows for sure what happened for them financially on Wednesday or on Friday.
Since this thing started to percolate up into the brouhaha it eventually became, I've been puzzled over how a few comments in such obscure venues became such a big deal. I mean, who is this Ken Coleman with the radio show? I've never heard of him before now, and I'd guess I've at least heard the names of most nationally-known Christian leaders. (Actually, I'm assuming he is a religious speaker of some kind, although I don't immediately find anything specifically addressing that on KenColemanShow.com.) Best I can tell from his Web site is that he has a local show on a radio station in Georgia. And tell me: how many gay rights activists really read the Baptist Press? If I were gay and wanted to be part of a Christian church, I would most certainly NOT choose the very conservative Baptist denomination, and I would not read Baptist publications.
So here's the question to ask yourself. How did the LGBT community even know about these things Dan Cathy was saying? Are you telling me that gay people are spending their time reading Baptist publications and listening to Christian talk radio? Now, I did just do some quick research, and Wikipedia does report that Atlanta has a large gay population (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_demographics_of_the_United_States) so it's possible that homosexual activists in that area might have stumbled across Coleman's radio show. But I've got to wonder whether that's really what happened, and here's why.
It appears that Chick-fil-A has actually been controversial within the LGBT community for at least a year and a half. Wikipedia reports that there was a flap over a marriage conference in January of 2011 (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick-fil-A#Controversy_regarding_same-sex_marriage_stance) and if you check the references in that Wikipedia article, you'll find several other instances of LGBT activists becoming upset over something Chick-fil-A did. So essentially, Chick-fil-A seems to have been in their crosshairs for some time. What occurred to me this morning was that it is very likely that they were actually looking for the right time to attack Chick-fil-A in the national arena. This public denouncement of Chick-fil-A wasn't really in response only to those two interviews.
Now, here's where Christians either won the day, or got pie on our faces, and I'm going with option #2. Sure, CFA had a great sales day, and my guess is that they are continuing to have great sales days - the Saturday after the big chicken-athon I was at a mall with a CFA in it and the line was still longer at that restaurant than anywhere else in the food court. But really, did the chain really need saving? It's not like CFA is an ailing fast food chain that needs our support to keep it from going under. We gave them our money, but all that meant was that we had some tasty chicken.
Here's how we failed: the LGBT community was trying to cause a division between themselves and Christians. Can't you see that that was the idea all along? They sought to show that Christians are mistreating gays, to consolidate gays against Christian organizations, to make sure that homosexuals would not seek to leave the lifestyle but would become more afraid and suspicious of organizations that would reach out to them.
I think we walked right into their trap.
I don't think that the LGBT activist community got things exactly like they wanted, because I think they really wanted to demonize and damage the chain and that just wasn't going to happen. But I do think that they've set Americans at each other's throats, and specifically I think they've set homosexuals against Christians. They've polarized people, shoring up their own power. Christians saved a fast-food restaurant that didn't really need saving, and hardline gay-rights activists built a stronger sense of "us-versus-them" community on both the gay side and the "religious right" side.
It's another row or two of bricks in the already towering wall between the Christians and the people that Jesus wants us to reach out to in love. And we laid the bricks ourselves.